Monday, 17 November 2014

Lonrho's Atuabo Freeport Project: An Egregious Example Of The The Misappropriation Of Public Resources To Private Interests

As a case study of the misappropriation  of public resources to private interests, it will be difficult to find a more egregious example of the dark art of swindling Mother Ghana, than the rip-off oil agreements surrendering Ghana's oil deposits to foreign oil companies.

Now those selfsame foreign oil companies are seeking to deny Ghana from benefiting from the provision of specialised port services to its oil industry and earn tax revenues in the process - and are doubtless looking to benefit from cash-strapped Lonrho's brazen  attempt to inveigle our rulers into granting it permission to build a freeport at Atuabo.

Seldom will one find a more obnoxious example, of the socialisation of private risk, than the outrageous and unlawful decision to grant a monopoly to Lonrho - giving it an exclusive right to build a port at Atuabo to  service Ghana's oil industry: in clear contravention of PNDC Law 160 of 1968.

Incredibly, as we speak, Lonrho has neither the expertise nor the money for the project. Where in the world but Ghana, would such a scheme be considered, let alone approved - especially when it so clearly contravenes the nation's laws?

This is a project that will only benefit Lonrho and a few politically well-connected Ghanaians. The national interest is yet again being sacrificed - by conscience-selling elites determined to prosper at Mother Ghana's expense.

Having literally conspired with foreign oil companies to dupe our nation out of the ownership of oil deposits that our country sits atop of - worth at least some US$160 billions and out of which Ghana will only receive a paltry US$20 billions over a 30-year period - our rapacious ruling elites are now adding insult to injury.

By their actions, it appears that the greediest amongst our ruling elites are now effectively sworn enemies of the Ghanaian people - engaging in sundry rip-off deals: each one of which is detrimental to the national interest.

How can any patriotic Ghanaian who is a nationalist, justify a decision by the government of Ghana that denies  our country the opportunity to earn additional revenues from servicing the oil industry - by preventing the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) from using Takoradi port for that lucrative undertaking: even though it has already spent millions of Ghana cedis in furtherance of that objective?

The question then is:  just where do those backing this outrage expect the Republic of Ghana to find additional tax revenues from,  to pay for the development of the nation, and improve the living standards of the ordinary people of our country?

It is instructive that the honest President Mills - a tax expert who once refused to be bribed by foreign oil company executives who called on him at the Osu Castle - stopped this pure nonsense on bamboo stilts in its tracks, when it was brought to his attention.

The GPHA, not greedy and short-sighted politicians forever selling our country short,  ought to be in sole charge of deciding who builds ports and harbours in Ghana.

This illegality must not be allowed to take place under any circumstances.

Why should the Ghanaian nation-state give Lonrho and a few politically well-connected Ghanaians a sovereign guarantee that will enable them seek funding for a project that will deny the nation the opportunity to benefit from generating additional tax revenues from its oil and gas industry?

Nothing can justify this neocolonialist rip-off dressed up as a public private partnership project at a time when Ghana desperaterly needs to find new sources from which it can raise additional tax revenues.

Is this not a clear-cut case of causing financial loss to Ghana? The selfsame foreign oil companies that use devious Alice-in-wonderland tax-avoidance schemes, centred in nations like Luxembourg,  to deny nations like ours tax revenues from the massive profits they make here, now seek to import every item used in their operations here free from Ghanaian taxes.

For their information the days when foreign carpetbaggers could come to our shores to exchange worthless bric-a-brac for valuable gold are long gone. They might be able to get around the geniuses who rule us, but civil society in Ghana is now wide awake. This particular rip-off of Mother Ghana will not fly. Period.

 President Mahama must always remember that his closest friends,  and his favourites amongst his blood relations, owe an obligation to him never to embarrass him - and they must also understand clearly that when they mess up they must not expect Ghana's elected president to 'rescue' them.

This project is inimical to our nation's financial well-being - no matter how it is dressed up. President Mahama must not allow a powerful few with greedy ambitions to ruin his legacy with such nation-destroying deals so clearly detrimental to the well-being of our nation and the overall welfare of its people.

President Mahama must prevent this egregious example of the socialisation of private risk, which illustrates perfectly the abominable phenomenon of selfish and corrupt individuals amongst Ghana's ruling elites engaging in the misappropriation of public resources, to private interests. It is slowly destroying Ghana.

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